Japanese: Don't Learn Romaji - Learn Hiragana and Katakana
Quite a few learners of Japanese are having issues with relying on using Romaji, particularly when they are getting started. This is primarily because whenever we begin learning Japanese, we want to dive in and learn to speak the language. Merely studying Hiragana or Katakana can take a while, and after you really can't even comprehend much (you can read, yes, but understand...no).
Am I merely nagging you like your Japanese teacher? What is the real trouble with using the English alphabet?:
You are currently familiar with saying words a specific way when you read Romaji letters. Japanese is more than likely new for you and you don't have to be worried about having your relationships mixed up. The mere point that you are not used to pronouncing Japanese symbols in a specific way is actually very advantageous. You can essentially begin from nothing and take pleasure in an infinitely more natural and quicker strategy to become smooth with your Japanese.
Japanese People Do not Use Romaji
Perhaps your textbook uses Romaji. It is still no justification. That just means that it was made by a lazy publisher. Honestly, you won't really find much Romaji in use when you go to Japan. Maybe just the names of large department stores plus some English terms now and then. If you write something down in Romaji and give it to a Japanese pal of yours, he or she will probably be pretty puzzled because quite honestly, Japanese people by and large, just don't use Romaji.
Say Goodbye to the Training Wheels
If you believe you might want to keep studying Japanese and eventually become excellent at it or even become proficient, you will have to learn Japanese symbols sooner or later. It's just going to be less difficult to learn them from the get-go. An inch of effort and hard work now or a mile of suffering in the future. Which might you rather have?
Sure, so Romaji is not the best way to go. What could you do when you're just starting out? It honestly is dependent upon what sort of Japanese student you are. From my perspective, there are 2 sorts of Japanese students:
The Devoted Student
Maybe you're studying Japanese in college. Maybe you're considering traveling to Japan for a while and wish to prepare yourself for your stay. Maybe you're a business person that has several Japanese clients. Or maybe you simply have several Japanese friends and you're sick and tired of them talking about you behind your back.
If this describes you, the most effective step you can take is to take a seat and study Hiragana and Katakana. You can master these two sets of characters in only a few weeks with a set of flash-cards and a little bit of determination.. After this, you can progress and begin building up your vocab, grammar along with other speaking skills using Hiragana and Katakana as a stable foundation.
Maybe you're heading off to Japan for a brief vacation. Maybe you really like anime or manga and just want to find out more about the culture. Maybe you just have a little bit of spare time and wish to study one or two languages for the pleasure of it.
For people like this, my advice is to begin with some easy conversational Japanese classes. This is less difficult than studying how to read and write, primarily if you're immersed in a good course. Once you've got some elementary conversational Japanese down, it may be that you would plan to take it further and really study the language thoroughly. Moving forward you will end up in the perfect position to take the road listed above and study all the Japanese characters (including all those pesky Kanji).
Romaji really isn't to your advantage. I really hope you are able to really see that now. Regardless of what you realistically want to get out of learning Japanese, you're really just doing yourself a favor by losing the Romaji. Take the time instead to either be able to write Japanese symbols or pick up some basic conversational Japanese terms.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Hunter has studied Japanese since 2000 and enjoys helping other learn Japanese for school, business, and pleasure.